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Trial by Desire (Carhart #2)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  1,982 Ratings  ·  232 Reviews

In the three years since her husband left her, Lady Kate Carhart has managed to forge a fulfilling life for herself. But when Ned Carhart unexpectedly returns, she finds her tranquility uprooted --- and her deepest secrets threatened. Though she has no intention of falling for Ned's charms, Kate can no longer deny the desire that st
Mass Market Paperback, 360 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by HQN Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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♡Karlyn P♡
DNF at halfway point, just not feeling the romance and not caring about the hero or heroine. It was original so I can see why many gave it 5-stars, but for me I just couldn't quit skimming as I wasn't being pulled into the story. I really wanted to like it as I so enjoyed her debut, so I will read more by this author. There was a lot of 'telling' and not as much 'showing' going on too, and while it was done well for me it was just too much narrative.
Jun 16, 2011 Tina rated it it was ok
Ned Carhart left his wife Kate a mere three months after their marriage to go to China at the behest of his cousin to check out what was going on with the British and the Opium situation and to find himself. At the point of their marriage Ned considers himself something of a useless fribble with no responsibilities.

Kate is stunned and bereft.

Fast forward three years later and a lot has changed. Kate rescues women who are victims of domestic abuse and helps them to leave their husbands and reloc
Aug 29, 2010 Janga rated it it was amazing
I was one of the readers of Courtney Milan’s debut novel, Proof by Seduction, who finished that book hoping that Ned Carhart, cousin to Gareth Carhart, the Marquess of Blakely, would get his own story. Trial by Desire is Ned’s story, but Ned is no longer the confused boy of POS; he is now a man, tempered by the hard experiences of three years in China. He returns to his home and his marriage, determined to uncover the secrets his wife is safeguarding even as he protects his own secret.

Trial by D
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Grade: C - or weak 3 stars

Smoothly written story, a confident heroine who rescues abused women and a hero that battles depression should have been an angsty historical romance so why was it a struggle to maintain interest in this book? It felt tedious.

The Story
After three years abroad, Ned Carhart returns to England and his wife. He had left to conquer his inner demons and now has control over the melancholia that nearly destroyed him. The fear still lingers that he may sink into the pit of desp
Aug 23, 2011 Mollie rated it really liked it
I was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for some time now!

I wasn't sure if Trial by Desire could live up to Proof by Seduction. Especially because in Poof by Seduction Ned was kind of a fuck-up. Sure, I liked him and felt sorry for him but I was wondering how Milan was going to turn Ned into hero material. But hero material he turned out to be!

Ned, determin
Nov 27, 2014 Feminista rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5 out of 5.

A beautiful story about estranged husband and wife. This is one of the few estranged romance stories I have ever read and liked. The best part of this romance was that both the heroine and the hero were true to one another throughout their separation. It wasn't like other stories where the hero/heroine profess to love the other, but then actually proceed to gallivant with other people.
Heather *live on coffee & flowers*
Cute! I liked the heroine. It dragged on a little, but I'll definitely read more of Milan's work in the future.
Mar 15, 2015 [Aengell] rated it really liked it
A beautiful story with a surprisingly well working mixture of action, aspects of an thriller and well done, if not perfect, characterization.

Lady Kathleen "Kate" Carhart hasn't seen her husband in three years, when he, after only three months of being married, went on an abrupt diplomatic visit to China.
Said husband, Ned, comes back to find that his wife hasn't been a meek and silent resident of his country estate, but has some, lets say curious, projects going on.

I must applaud Courtney Mila
Mandi Schreiner
Sep 24, 2010 Mandi Schreiner rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
Favorite Quote: “I don’t like to lose control.”

Kate inched her fingers across the coverlet to his free hand. His knuckles were heated, even though he’d been sitting in the cold. “Ned,” she whispered, “let me inside your control.”

We first meet our hero Ned in Proof By Seduction, where we learn he battles many demons, and depression is a big part of his life. At the start of Trial by Desire, Ned is not done battling his demons yet. After only three short months of marriage to Kathleen Carhart, he
Nov 08, 2013 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I will never ever stop being impressed by Courtney Milan's novels, mostly because not only are they the most helplessly and honestly heartfelt and romantic stories ever, they have such a PROFOUND sense of social justice to them--the plots are intelligent and they mean something and I always want to stand up and cheer and then maybe read a book or two about Victorian legal reform once they're over. God damn, she's my favourite author, and this book was great.
Gah! I wanted this to be a better book. It's really only just three stars for me. I think the problem stems from Milan trying to do to much. She should've stepped back and taken one character element away. Ned is suffering with depression (which was a little flippantly dealt with in itself but CM is probably brave for even going there in an historical) and fears losing control. He fears that control will be lost in sexual encounters with his wife. He doesn't want her to see his weakness so he so ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Keri rated it really liked it
We met Ned Carhart in CM's Proof of Seduction and frankly I loved Ned. He was young and sweet. The glove with the teeth mark scene is still one of the funniest to me. But this story picks up about 3 months after PoS and Ned has married Kate.

Ned though feels that he needs to grow up before he can deserve Kate, so he takes off for China....for 3 years! When our Ned comes back he is a changed man, he has filled out those broad shoulders and cheek bones.

Kate however, isn't impressed she has 3 year
Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...]
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May 24, 2012 Rose rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who love historical romances and developed characterizations
Recommended to Rose by: Courtney Milan
I originally read "Trial by Desire" in June of 2011, but I decided to re-read it in audiobook form and return to the book because I really enjoyed it. Lady Kate and Ned were both wonderful characters to get to know in the mix of events. I loved the opening of the novel where the two are reunited after quite some time apart. It takes place after the events of "Proof of Seduction" - where Ned returns from his travels as a more mature gentleman, though left unspoken - he still has his own internal ...more
Ana Maria Rînceanu
Proving yourself doesn't mean you need to kill dragons so I'm really happy about how the hero and damsel in distress part of the novel was handled.
Sophia (FV)
Oct 19, 2010 Sophia (FV) rated it really liked it
Rating 4.5
Our Ned is all grown up and wow! Again, I adore Courtney Milan's voice. I'm putting her on my auto buy list. Fabulous!!!
Nov 08, 2014 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2014-bir
Another completely fabulous historical romance. I love non-typical characters!
4-4.5 stars.

Ned Carhart, after a 3-year long (sort of) self exile to China, returns home to England to a less than warm welcome from his disillusioned wife Lady Kate Carhart. Theirs' was a marriage of convenience, yet rooted in an undeniable attraction. That is until Ned decided to up and leave Kate a few months after their wedding in order to prove himself useful (something he's never felt to be) and protect her from the darkness that creeps up in moments when control evades him. Unfortunately
Quite disappointing.

I’d been saving this book, so I could savour it whenever I felt like I needed to read a really good romance novel. After the last couple of months, it felt like it was time.

Trial by Desire is a sequel to Proof by Seduction and although the couple set up is much more believable than in its prequel, the romance itself isn’t.

A scandal forced Ned and Kate to marry, but it was clear that both of them—Ned—at least needed to grow up in leaps and bounds for them to earn their (bel
Apr 15, 2013 Dawn rated it liked it
Lady Kate and Ned are found in a compromising position and are required to marry in order to save face. However three months into the marriage Ned decides he must go on a mission to China which leaves his new wife in a scandalous position. Three years pass and both Kate and Ned are quite aware of how little they know of one another. Thus the story begins on how they find their way to happiness.

I really liked Kate she had quite a bit of spunk as well as practicality. Ned was also an interesting c
Sylvia Sybil
Sep 28, 2010 Sylvia Sybil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, historical
Three years ago, Ned and Kate were forced into a marriage of convenience. Shortly afterward, Ned left to travel halfway around the world. Now he has returned to England, intending to prove to his wife that he has grown beyond the awkward youth she married. But as far as Kate is concerned, he showed his true colors when he abandoned her, a desertion that inspired the cruelties and vicious gossip of high society. Kate herself has a secret; she's been smuggling battered wives away from their husban ...more
Feb 10, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it
The hero in this story, Ned Carhart, struggles with bipolar disorder. That's new. It isn't often you come across a romance hero that has to deal with and come to terms with being truly helpless and powerless (in this case brought down even more low by his depressive episodes). Of course being the hero, he strives and does rise above it, but the author managed a nice balance in showing just how desperately difficult it was for someone like him to do so without stripping him of the qualities that ...more
Harlequin Books
Reading Log Day 1
I started reading this afternoon and I'm hooked! I would be reading still but I had to come here and share my first impressions with you. :)

Lady Kate Carhart will be a fun character to get to know. She has spunk, secrets, and a caring heart. I have a feeling that she will be giving me many smiles and bursts of laughter throughout her story. Ned, her husband, thinks he has grown up in the three years he has been gone. LOL I can tell he has a lot to learn yet about what his wife w
Sep 29, 2010 Jackie rated it it was amazing
This book starts in a way that belies is depth, complexity, and brilliance. It seems like you're about to get an average "reunion" romance, but in the end, you get so much more. This is not your average historical romance, but then, I know its author well enough never to expect anything "average" from her.

For me, I'll admit the book started a bit slowly. It wasn't that I was BORED, mind you, but rather that it wasn't until I got about 125 pages into the story that I had the absolutely compulsive
Barb in Maryland
Oh, I so wanted to love, love, love this book and it just wasn't there. Ms Milan is a very graceful writer. Her prose sparkles, her characters are nicely fleshed out. But, I just didn't feel any connection to them.

And, I will be blunt, the book felt padded. There were scenes, and even set bits of dialog, that were repeated, some three or more times. Uh-oh--editor falling down on job? Word count needed? I don't know, but every time I encountered one of these I was pulled right out of the story.
This was a good book. But, I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. I think I just got rather impatient with all the excuses both parties kept coming up with for their fears.

This story is about Ned and Kate. In the previous book, Proof by Seduction, we learn that Ned is forced to marry Kate having put her in a compromising position. So, he marries her and promptly leaves for 3 years after only 3 months of marriage. This story begins with his return.

Kate is used to being on her own by now, but is
Aug 24, 2015 Sheila rated it it was amazing
This is definitely an early book, and I know not the author's favorite, but the hero has bipolar disorder. And his symptoms are similar to my bipolar II, though that might be too close a reading. :)

There's some other good stuff, and some rough stuff (awkward shoehorning of characters from the first book in the series), but I genuinely do not care. I identified so strongly with Ned that I was close to tears by the end. That earns five stars in my book.

Rachel- Goodbye Borders
Apr 11, 2016 Rachel- Goodbye Borders rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Ned and Kate married young. After 3 months Ned decides to go to China to oversee family holdings there. He is gone 3 years. Of course while he is gone, life moves along. I loved what Kate took on in her spare time and I enjoyed that secondary story. I also liked how they were both faithful to each other. (I think it would have ruined this for me if they didn't).
It did get annoying that Ned wouldn't share what he felt. I didn't like that asking for help was seen as a weakness and not a strength.
Katrina Passick Lumsden
I liked this one more than the first, but still not enough to give it four stars. I sympathized with Ned, and I can't imagine how difficult it was to deal with something like depression during a time when people didn't even understand what it was. His protestations about not wanting to be a burden made sense in that context. I liked Kate, but she was harder to sympathize with since she tended to bury her feelings under heavy layers of what she believed to be practicality. Still, the writing and ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Kara rated it liked it
Shelves: romance-novel

Call me bloodthirsty, but I wanted to see the antagonist handed over to someone like Arya Stark or Beatrix Kiddo.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 03, 2015 10:58AM  
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Courtney Milan lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, a marginally-trained dog, and an attack cat. Courtney wishes she could say she has lived in numerous fabulous places. But aside from her husband, there is a distinct lack of fabulousness in her life. Instead, she is happy when standards in the Milan household hover above mediocrity. Her husband attempts not to kill people for a living ...more
More about Courtney Milan...

Other Books in the Series

Carhart (2 books)
  • Proof by Seduction (Carhart, #1)

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“Our marriage lasted a few months. Once you left, what remained faded faster than the ink on the license. And what's left..well, it could blow away in one tiny puff of wind."
"Well,then." he spoke with an air of certainty. "I'll try not to exhale."
"Don't bother. I stopped holding my breath years before.”
“Some servent with no sense of the symbolic had kept the hinges well-oiled during the years of his absence,as if their marital life had merely been cast into temporary abeyance.” 3 likes
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